Recently in the spotlight

German Chancellor Merkel shares a light moment with Klaus Iohannis (left) President of Romania and Jean-Claude Juncker (middle) President of the European Commission

Romania’s new president ignores Orbán’s nationalist rhetoric

Recently, I had a chance to chat with Johannes Bloos the Deputy Consul General of the German Consulate in San Francisco, California. Mr. Bloos is a Saxon; his parents were part of this German speaking community in Brasov, Romania, before they immigrated to Germany. We talked about another Romanian-Saxon, Romania’s new president – Mr. Klaus Iohannis. His recent election was […]

by · March 23, 2015 · East
Federal Chancellor of Austria Werner Faymann (far left), Prime Minister  Bohuslav Sobotka of the Czech Republik, and Prime Minister of Slovakia Robert Fico in Slavkov on 29 January 2015.

A new regional alliance – without Hungary

The 25-year-old Visegrad Group, also called the Visegrad Four, is supposed to be an alliance of four Central European states – Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland andSlovakia – for the purposes of furthering European integration and advancing political, military, and economic cooperation. As it turns out the Visegrad Four is dead.  In the last couple of months it has become clear that the Visegrad Four members fundamentally disagree on how to approach […]

by · March 19, 2015 · Politics
Map of Székely lands

Comparison of Romania to Islamic State at Budapest demo ruffles feathers in Bucharest

A Budapest demonstration in support of autonomy for Romania’s Hungarian-majority Székelyföld (Szeklerland) counties of Kovászna, Hargita and parts of Maros county has caused a political storm, when organizers called Romania “the Islamic State of Europe.” Bogdan Aurescu, Romania’s foreign affairs ministere, telephone his Hungarian counterpart, Péter Szijjártó, to officially protest the accusation made by Árpád György Mózes, the president of […]

by · March 14, 2015 · Diaspora
Tamás Wetzel is in Canada this week to shore up support for Fidesz withing the Hungarian community.

Deputy state secretary arrives in Canada to buy Hungarian votes for Fidesz

For the past years, Canada has been the target of an unusually high volume of senior level Fidesz political visitations, all travelling on taxpayers’ money, to work over the pro-Fidesz Hungarian diaspora. (The Hungarian governmental visits to Canada outnumber the number of such visits by Canadian governmental officials to Hungary, on a scale of roughly 100 to 1.) Virtually every […]

by · March 11, 2015 · Diaspora
Jewish Community Roundtable. Photo: szombat.org

Hungary’s Jewish leaders fail to show common front when faced with Fidesz

Hungary’s main Jewish community weekly magazine, Szombat, published a scathing critique of the country’s Jewish community leaders who, the publication charges, seem to be more interested in demonstrating their loyalty to the Orbán government and in being subservient, than in coordinating their message with each other and showing any signs of community solidarity before heading into meetings with the regime. […]

by · March 8, 2015 · Antisemitism
Mr. Dániel Bodnár of TEV –  didn’t notice criticism of the Orbán Government even though he was present.

Hungary rewrites Samantha Power anti-Semitism speech

Hungarian newsmakers didn’t like UN Ambassador Samantha Power’s criticism of the Hungarian Government’s attempt to rewrite World War II history – so they rewrote her speech. Why not? Hungarian news sources often ignore important stories, but in this case they went one step further; they turned the table and rewrote it. They added lines she never said, a rant about […]

by · March 7, 2015 · Antisemitism
Roundtable at Concordia University on March 3, 2015. Photo: CA.

Experts call for international action on Hungary’s rule of law violations

An international panel of experts at Concordia University drew public attention to one of the greatest credibility challenges faced by the European Union since its inception: the government of an EU member state – Hungary – has been openly defying the “Rule of Law”, and the core values the Union is formally committed to uphold. Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán`s […]

by · March 6, 2015 · Focus
Lajos Oláh at Concordia University on March 3, 2015.

Hungarian embassy in Ottawa stages cabaret at Scheppele-talk in Montreal

When I was riding back from Montreal late Tuesday evening, after a roundtable discussion hosted by Concordia University on the state of the rule of law in Hungary, I didn’t think that a short video I produced starring the Embassy of Hungary in Ottawa and their completely surreal act would find its way onto nearly all of Hungary’s major internet […]

by · March 4, 2015 · Focus
Christian Reformed from Hungary hand out three bus loads of food in Ruthenia.  Photo: Ákos Stiller, hvg.hu

Humanitarian crisis looms in Ukraine’s multiethnic Ruthenia

The mayor of the Hungarian-dominated town of Beregszász (Berehove) gave a startling glimpse into what a year of war in Ukraine has meant for the western-most region of the country, which is home to over 150,000 ethnic Hungarians, as well as large numbers of Romanians, Roma and Slovaks, in addition to Ukrainians. Mayor Zoltán Babják remarked that the situation in […]

by · March 3, 2015 · East
Remembering Ildikó Zentai

In memoriam Ildikó Zentai

I was saddened when I learned about the untimely death of Ildikó Zentai. In the last decade I saw Ildikó at various Hungarian events around the San Francisco Bay Area, said hello, we briefly talked, but we didn’t really know each other. Ildikó was a wife, a mother and a devout Catholic. She moved to the US from Budapest in […]

by · March 2, 2015 · Diaspora